Thursday, August 14, 2014
Being a foreign common villager
I've noticed a peculiar thing since I've been living in a small village in Greece for more than a month. People from the same social class despise each other. How so? Well, for starters, I have nothing against people living in small villages (since I am too for the moment, obviously!). But it seems to me like people who constantly live in villages feel diminished, so much that they actually make subtle differences between them to show that one is better than the other villager. I know it probably makes no sense at all if you've always lived in a city where no one notices anyone, but if you do live in a village, even for about a month, you'll probably notice the same pattern. It is as if people were torn between their feeling of belonging to their village, and their inner desire to live there, and the general idea of being a common villager compared to the incredible life of being a city-dweller. And that's exactly the part that I don't get. I understand that some people would prefer living in a village or a city, as I love both. But what I don't get, is why someone would be ashamed of loving to be who they are, and live in the place they love so much?
The worst part of it all is that it has become somewhat of an obsession that has turned into a competition... You see, people who left the village look down on people who didn't. But also on people who did. Sure! They wouldn't want their status of city-dweller to be randomized by some common villager (again, not my words). Then there's another type of hierarchy in the village, people from abroad. Aha! Now comes the complicated stuff. You see, there are people, like my family, who left the village, not only to go to THE city, but who even left the country, for work, years ago, when times were really hard in Greece (like they have become again, by the way). These people either return every once in a while for holiday, or come back after some time to live again in the village. We are considered the supreme species of villagers here. We are, without a doubt, rich, stylish, intelligent, arrogant, technology-freak, etc. You get the point. We've been elevated to super villager status. But wait, there's a catch! Don't you even start thinking that we're that great, because we have thousands of flaws! When you think about it, we might think we know-it-all, but after all, what do we really know? I've been reminded many times, that being a girl, what are all my study years for, since all I need to do is to know how to be a good housewife. And besides, I've also been explained that what's all this knowledge I chase for, if I don't even know how to farm... How am I going to eat? So, basically, my kind of villager should be back on the bottom of the hierarchy, since it's the common villager who feeds us. Point taken.
Last but not least, there is actually an even lower type of villager than us, ex-super villagers. The other kind of foreign ones, you know, the REAL foreign ones. You see, in my village, and probably in all Greek villages , and also in all the villages of the entire world, there is no worst enemy than the foreign common villager. Foreign common villagers know nothing at all, it's a shame really. It's as if they were never taught the REAL way to behave, to talk, to act, etc. They're not educated. I'll stop with the irony right here. The situation for these foreign people who came to work in a poor village in Greece is really hard as you can see, since not only have they left their whole life behind them, and need to adapt to a new country where their old abilities are seen as futile as can be, but these people are even deprived of their feeling of belonging to their own country. Why do I say this? Because when you've emigrated in another country, the only thing that keeps you going on, even though it is so hard, is the reminiscence of the country you've left behind. You forge a surreal image of your mother country as being the best country in the world, even though you know that you left it for a reason. When this other country rips you off of this reminiscence of your beautiful past, where do you stand? How do you define yourself as a person in a country where due to your language and culture you're always going to be less than the native people?
As I said before, this is probably true in every country in the world, but it doesn't make it less tragic. You might wonder where all of this is coming from, and where is actually the link with the hierarchy of villagers. Well, the link is that it is all a complete circle of people in a caste. Do you remember my stupid little hierarchy of my village? You have the super villagers, the common villagers (which splits into many other forms, as you may have guessed), and the foreign common villager. If you take my type of villager, the "super" ones, back in time, and in another country, where we had emigrated, be it in a city or a village, we were considered as the foreign common villagers/city-dwellers... We don't look all that fancy anymore, do we, huh? Well, that's basically what happens to all the immigrants I guess. We're both fancy and shitty, according to time and place. At least, the commoners have a right to remain who they are and fight over what type of commoner they'd like to be... Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining or anything! I consider myself lucky! I just wanted to show you how much things change according to our perspective... Shouldn't we all get some of that perspective every once in a while?
Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!